P1.2-M smuggled cigarettes seized in Zambo portPosted on
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities have intercepted a shipment of PHP1.2 million worth of smuggled counterfeit cigarettes in an intelligence-driven anti-smuggling operation here, a top military official said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the shipment was intercepted Wednesday aboard a Bongo-type truck inside the local port by the Task Force Aduana following coordination with Japan Tobacco Corporation.
Task Force Aduana is an anti-smuggling group formed by the government composed of Bureau of Customs, Joint Task Force Zamboanga, Philippine Coast Guard, and Port Police.
Sobejana said the truck loaded with 50 master cases of smuggled counterfeit cigarettes had disembarked from a Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) vessel that came from Jolo, Sulu when it was intercepted at the local port.
He said the operating troops also nabbed the truck driver, Jalon Sawabi Kalingalan, adding the anti-smuggling operation was carried out following complaints filed by the Japan Tobacco Corporation.
The confiscated cigarettes carried the brand names of Canon, Menthol, and Astro white and were mixed with other cargoes.
“With the strong inter-agency collaboration and the support from the different intelligence units, we are able to fulfill our mandated tasks successfully,” Sobejana said.
“Rest assured, Westmincom will remain steadfast in accomplishing its mission to end terrorism and lawlessness in its area of operation,” he added.
He said the confiscated items and vehicle were turned over to the Bureau of Customs for inventory and proper disposition while the truck driver was held for questioning.-PNA